Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fish Paste, Egg Tofu wtih Meat Sauce, Granola Bars & Durian Cake

The week is coming to an end (again), which also mean October is almost over. Another month is can be quite scary sometimes to think how time goes by so fast. Age must be really catching up on me...else why the constant nag about time?! Geeze! But I always tell myself, so long as I seize the day, it's good enough for me. FYI, my definition of seizing the day can be as small as baking a delicious cake, helped my daughter learn something new or even finish reading a book. Insignificant accomplishments? Not at all. Think of it this is not about completing how many tasks but how you learn and grow from the task you completed. ;) So pace yourself a little...cook something nice today perhaps? Hahaha!

Enough time and life philosophy. :) What's cooking?! Today I am trying out another new "homey" dish, Fish Paste, Egg Tofu with meat sauce. This recipe was extracted from yet another new cookbook I acquired today: Chef Phang's Popular Signature Dishes, AKA “彭师博精典招牌菜". :) I have halved the recipe because I am only making it for my small family. So feel free to double it if you have a bigger group to serve.

Ingredients for Fish Paste Egg Tofu with Meat Sauce:
100g fish paste (I minced some tilapia I have in my fridge)
1 block of soft bean curd (let seat and drain excess water)
1 egg
1/4 cup cornflour
cooking oil for frying tofu
1 tsp chopped garlic
100g minced meat (I used pork)

1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fermented soya bean paste (
1 tsp sugar
100ml water
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 1 tbsp water for thickening

  • Put fish paste, soft bean curd, egg in a mixing bowl and mix well. Pour the mixture into a steaming tray and steam at high heat for 10 minutes or till cooked. Remove and leave to cool before cutting into pieces.
  • Coat the egg tofu with cornflour and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown. Dish and drain. Arrange into serving platter.
  • Leave 1 tbsp of oil in the wok, saute the chopped garlic until aromatic. Add in minced meat and fry till almost cooked. Add seasoning and bring to a boil. Thicken with cornstarch water.
  • Pour minced meat gravy over fried egg tofu and serve with steam rice.
The ingredients are easily accessible and inexpensive, so it's can made anytime of the week. The only hassle is the need to fry the tofu. But it's really worth it because the crisp outer skin and soft center of the tofu accompanied with the savory meat sauce is awesome!. ;)
Have been wanting to make Granola bars for a long time now and today is the day! Have to say I might be a little too "adventurous" in the kinds of ingredients I added in, hahaha! And furthermore, I used Natural Dark Muscovado unrefined Molasses sugar which happen to has the deepest color and richest flavor. So the color was kind of on the dark side, not your usual granola bar look. :-P
Abit "Chao Da"(burnt) look right? I can assure it is not burnt. ;) It's the combination of molasses sugar and melted chocolate that makes this intense dark brown color. ;) If you are interested on what I put into these bars, read on:

Ingredients for My Granola Bars:
Set A:
150g rolled oats
120g dried mangoes, diced

100g dried cranberries
100g roasted peanuts

50g pumpkin seeds
50g sunflower seeds

100g chocolate chips
Set B:

140g butter

110g brown sugar (I used Molasses sugar)

60ml corn syrup / honey
Pinch of salt

  • Get ready a big bowl and place all ingredients in Set A and mix well. Set aside for now.
  • Line & grease a square baking tray of 23cm by 23cm with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • In a pot, melt the butter, brown sugar together till all melted and combined. Add corn syrup / honey to the mixture and stir well.
  • Add the mixture of Set A into the butter mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and press the mixture down tightly with the base of a cup.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until mixture is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool before slicing it into bars. Chill the bars in the refridgerator till firm and store in airtight containers.
The sugar butter coating around the bar has crystallized after the baking and cooling, so it's like biting into a toffee bar! Sweet! It's not too sweet and the texture is both chewy and crunchy, very satisfying. ;) Definitely a meal on the go! Well, perhaps not really a meal...a treat perhaps.
Last item on my list today is Durian Butter Cake with Durian Cream. The story begins when my dear husband went to buy too much durian and we can't finish it! So I suggested to him that I will transform it into some bake goods that he can enjoy as well. So yesterday evening, I finally got to work and ....vola!
Ingredients for Durian Butter Cake:
200g margarine
50g butter
220g caster sugar
4 eggs
250g fresh durian puree
1/4 tsp durian essence (optional if quality fresh durian is used)
20g coconut powder
230g self-rising flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

150ml fresh whipping cream, whipped
80g fresh durian puree
  • Combined whipped cream and duiran puree together and chill in fridge till ready to pipe onto cooled cake.
Method for cake:
  • Grease a cake mould (I used 9" round pan) and line with parchment paper and grease again. Set aside. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  • Beat margarine, butter, sugar till light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  • Stir in durian flesh and essence if using. Fold in sifted flour, coconut powder, baking powder and soda. Mix well till combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or till golden brown and tester comes out clean.
  • Let cool on rack completely and pipe durian cream over the top. Serve chill or room temperature. Enjoy!
This is really a decant rich cake. Both buttery and durian richness...simply quite heavenly if you ask me, hahaha! ;D One bite and you are hooked, heehee. :) But....yes, there's a but. I did not realize I have slightly under baked the cake in the center....*sigh*. I did test it the cake with a toothpick and it came out clean....very strange! Anyway, it might also be the thick lumpy durian puree I added in that made it harder to bake through the middle. Nevertheless, minus the small middle section, the cake was still yummy good. ;) So good with a cup of hot tea.
So before you guys "doze off" from my long post...I shall sign off from here. Have a super duper great weekend ahead guys!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pan-Fried Chicken with Salted Egg yolk & Marble Cupcakes

Yes, I'm slagging again. Have not been baking as much as I hope to lately. Can't really blame it on anything...somethings baking needs mood to do it. Lacking the mood? Yeah, perhaps. It almost sounds like I'm falling out of love, hahaha! Nah, ....I don't think I will give up cooking / baking ever. Anyway, I hope I'm not disappointing some of my regular readers / followers out there. For today, let's do something "homey", something simple, something that you can whip up anything time of the day without having to toil over it. First up is Pan-Fried Chicken with Salted Egg yolk, or 咸香煎焗鸡. Yes, another delicious recipe from "大牌檔菜" Book 17. You can very well save your money from buying this book and just get the good recipes from my blog, hahaha!
You must be going " unhealthy, salted egg yolk again!" Wait there, I have actually reduced the egg yolk to one instead of 2 for the recipe and removed all skin and visible fats on the chicken meat. Or you can opt to use chicken breast for this recipe to reduce the calories / fat further. a little!! Here's the slice:

Ingredients for Pan-Fired Chicken with Salted Egg yolk:
2 chicken whole leg, debonded and skinned and cut small
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 salted egg yolks, steamed and mashed (I used 1)
1 red chilli, seeded and diced small
100ml water
2 stalk of green onion

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp corn flour
1 tsp sesame oil
Dash of pepper

  • Mix chicken pieces with marinate and let season for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat up oil, stir fry the salted egg yolks until fragrant. Add chilli, chicken and stir well. Pour in water and stir fry until the sauce as thicken and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Add in the spring onions and stir well. Dish up and serve with steam rice. YUM!
This salted egg yolk style of cooking is relatively new for home dishes and I am actually loving it, haha! The savory salty taste from the yolk goes really well with steam rice, plus the tender chicken meat was really great too. Even my girls ate a few pieces when they tasted the spiciness in the dish! You can even replace the chicken with prawns , should be a great dish as well. So try it should be a sure hit for the family. ;)

Desert of the day: Marble Cupcakes. Again I wanted something simple to make for my girls to snack on. And since I just bought a new book over the weekend...which by the way is my new favorite book at the moment : "Martha Stewart's Cupcakes". It is such a wonderful book bursting with great ideas for dressing up a cupcake and along with it are numerous great cupcake recipes...totally in love with it, hahaha! I settled for something real simple which turned out to be a great choice because the cupcakes taste heavenly. ;)

Can't wait to try them out, here's the recipe:

Ingredients for Marble Cupcakes:
1 & 3/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk, room temp
1/3 cup heavy cream, room temp
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
Confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and cream.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add in vanilla. Add in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of milk mixture, and beating till combined.
  • To make the chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup of the batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa powder with boiling water in a small bowl and stir into the 1 cup batter.
  • Filled the prepared cupcake liners with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each 3 quarters full. Run the tip of a toothpick through the batter to create swirls.
  • Bake, rotating the tin half way through until tops are golden brown and the tester comes out clean, about 20 mins. Remove from oven and let cool on rack.
  • To finish, dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.
Biting into one can be such a pleasant surprise. :) The texture is soft and moist and almost melt in your mouth! I can say this cake is a cross between a Japanese soft cheese cake (no cheese in it!) and moist butter cake. ;)
This cake is strangely addictive! And with the suggestion of my friend, chilling it in the fridge makes it even better...YUM! Definitely a simple and yet delicious treat to make for your family and kids on a lazy weekend. Do try and let me know how you like it. Cheers!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pandan Chicken Wings & Pandan Coconut Swiss Roll

Let's go GREEN today! No, not talking about Earth day. If you know me well, you know half the time I'm referring to food, hahaha. I'm talking about Pandan, yes pandan leaves, A.K.A. screwpine leaves as some will call it. It's fragrant and very commonly used in South-east Asia, especially in Nonya dishes. Not only for cooking purposes, people uses it in ways like repelling bugs and undesired smells in enclosed areas. I remember years ago, whenever I take a taxi in Singapore, inside the cab will always have a bunch of pandan leaves at the back of the rear window area! True story! So anyway, when I was at the wet market over the weekend, I bought 2 big bunches of pandan leaves, which only cost me cheap! I remember I had to pay like USD$2 for 5 small sticky leaves in California! So, in order to make full use of the cheap pricing & abundance of this fragrant and versatile leave/herb, I cooked 2 easy and delicious dishes to share with everyone.
This is actually a very simple dish to prepare. I found the recipe in "大牌檔菜" Book 17, cookbook. And since I wanted it to be a "kids friendly" dish, I decided to modified it not omit the curry powder which was called for in the recipe. Here's my version of the Pandan chicken:

Ingredients for Pandan Chicken:
4 chicken wings, cut into half, becomes 8 pieces
8 pieces of pandan leaves
8 bamboo sticks / toothpicks
5 cups cooking oil for frying

2 shallots, remove skin, sliced thin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Dash of sesame oil & pepper
1 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tsp oyster sauce

  • Mix chicken with marinate and let it season for at least 1hr.
  • Tie the chicken pieces with pandan leaves and secure it with bamboo sticks/ toothpicks.
  • Heat up the oil and deep fry the chicken till golden brown. Dish up and drain oil on paper towels. Serve while still warm.
As you can see, I did not really do a good job wrapping the pandan leaves around the chicken pieces. But luckily it did not fall off while it was been fried. Have to tell you the whole house smell soooo good while it was frying up in the kitchen....yummy! The chicken was tender and flavorful with an evident pandan aroma...delish! Shall try making it with deboned chicken thigh next I can pop the whole meat in my mouth, something like a h'orderves. ;) Definitely a try it when you can find fresh pandan leaves in the market.

Next up is desert, Pandan Coconut Swiss Roll. Whenever I want a nice piece of fluffy soft cake with some delicious rolls always does it. It's simple to make, much lesser time and trouble to prepare. And since I am on the "pandan theme" today, I decided to make pandan cake!
I do apologise for not taking nicer pictures for this cake. It was kind of a last minute decision to make it, so was in a rush to go pick up my girls towards the end. So did not bother much about the lighting etc etc. :-P I got this delicious swiss roll recipe from "Alex Goh Baking Class : Fruity Cakes". Actually have been putting this recipe on hold for awhile....with all the birthdays and vacation awhile back. ;-P Glad that I can finally get back to baking something simple and yummy. ;)

Ingredients for Pandan Coconut Swiss Roll Cake:
60g butter
60g plain flour
60g coconut milk
green food colouring
1 tsp pandan leaf juice

4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
90g sugar
pinch of salt

200ml Whipping cream, whipped
1/4 cup sweetened red beans (I used Valrohna chooclate balls)

  • In a large heat proof bowl, microwave the butter till it all melts, about 1 minute on high. Add flour into melted butter and whisk to form thick paste.
  • Add the egg yolks and stir to combine. Add pandan juice, coconut milk and green food coloring and stir again.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a baking tray of about 10cm by 14cm. Line with parchment paper and butter the top of the parchment paper.
  • Beat egg whites with salt until foamy. Continue to beat the egg whites and slowly add the sugar to it. Beat till mixture is stiff peaks.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture in 3 portions. Making sure most of the white is not visible after folding.
  • Pour cake batter into prepared tray and bake at 180°C for 15 mins. Then lower the temperature to 170°C and bake for another 5 mins.
  • When done, remove cake from oven and immediately remove from baking tray. Let cool on rack for 5 mins. Then using another parchment or clean kitchen towel, flip the cake over and peel off the parchment paper. Continue to let cool for another 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the filling. Whipped the cream with the confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract till firm peaks.
  • Spread the whipping cream on the cooled cake and sprinkle the sweetened red beans or valrohna chocolate balls on the cream.
  • Then roll up the cake from short side. Kept it roll up in the parchmant / kitchen towel till the cake is "stable". Slice and serve! ;)
Can see that my swiss roll is kind of "deflated" after much handling. Probably because the amount of filling used in this recipe. The original recipe calls for 250ml whipping cream...but I have already reduced to 200ml. I guess it's really up to your own personal preference. :P The presence of Valrohna chocolate balls were like little sweet surprises when you bite into the cake, extra texture, nice! Feel free to omit the sweetened red beans or chocolate balls...the cake is already very nice on it's own .;)
So go green today, try out these pandan'll love it! Happy cooking!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Purple Sweet Potato Sesame Oat Loaf & Za-jiang Mian (炸酱台湾意面)

Even though it was Deepavli holiday yesterday, I still did not get much of a chance to rest. Let me elaborate. Since my girls were home with me yesterday, I decided give them a treat and cook up a batch of Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes for our breakfast. It has been awhile since I made these, so my girls enjoyed it very much. :) After breakfast, I immediately got to work on tomorrow's breakfast! about efficiency! This time I decided to twist my old recipe and come up with a new one; Purple Sweet Potato Oat loaf with Black Sesame.
Sounds complicated but not so. I simply used the original purple sweet potato milk loaf recipe and added oats to it. If you have tried baking my Oat loaf before, you should know what I mean by that. I will post the recipe for this bread minus the steps as it is very much the same as the original purple sweet potato milk loaf.

Ingredients for Purple Sweet Potato Oat Loaf:
37g instant oats
75ml fresh milk

- Cooked in pot until lumpy and let cool before adding in together with the dough ingredients
380g bread flour
220g purple sweet potato, peeled, sliced, steamed and mashed
45g caster sugar
1 large egg (AA)

1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp instant active yeast
100ml fresh whipping cream
100ml fresh milk (more or less depending on the moisture left in the mashed potato)
60g unsalted butter, room temperature

5 to 6 tbsp black sesame paste/spread

This time instead of adding raisins to the loaf, I added black Sesame paste which I bought from my recent Taiwan trip. I actually could not find this black sesame paste in Malaysia, so it was really great that I got it in my last vacation. ;D
This is paste is creamy and has a nutty taste and slight sweetness to it....almost like peanut butter...but "toastier"....yummy! Interested...try finding it in those international grocers...good luck! But again, any spread of your choice would still be a good compliment to this yummy loaf, no problem at all.
Did not slice the loaf to show you the black spirals in it...sorry! Was in super rush last night to finish up other stuff...which I will show you in a minute. Furthermore, I kind of under baked my loaf a you can see there's not much toasty sides. So the slices were not that nicely cut. Good thing it was still super soft and delicious. ;)

The other challenge I took up yesterday was to make Za-jiang Mian (炸酱台湾意面). Yeah, sounds crazy right! Have been craving for a bowl of that noodle since I came back from Taipei. And to think that I actually hunt for a good Taiwanese cookbook while I was there so that I can try to replicate the dish at home when I return, haha! And you guessed it, making it was definitely harder then I thought!!The noodles turned out slightly tougher then expected. Perhaps I over kneaded it? Or have I added too much cornflour while trying to separate the noodles. Maybe I did not slice the noodles thin enough. :-P Anyway, in the recipe book, the name for the noodle is called 台湾意面.

Ingredients for
台湾意面 (noodle dough):
350g high protein flour
100g low protein flour

50g cornflour

100g beaten egg

7.5g salt

225ml cold water

  • Dissolove the salt in the cold water. Add beaten egg to water, and set aside.
  • Sift all flours into a big mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid mixture.
  • Mix everything together till it forms a soft dough.
  • Keep kneading till it is smooth and not sticky. Let rest for 20 minutes covered.
  • Roll out dough into 2 to 3 mm thick and 30 cm long. Sprinkle some cornflour on the dough to prevent sticking.
  • Fold the dough into a letter form and slice using kitchen knife into thin strips.
Ingredients for Za-jiang Mian (炸酱台湾意面) - for 4 to 5ppl
600g above
200g blenched bean sprouts (I omited)
1 Japanese cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly
400g minced pork
50g dried shrimp, soaked and minced
8 to 10 shallots, sliced and deep fried till golden brown

1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken seasoning
1 tsp five spice powder
1 tsp ground white pepper

  • In the work, using the2 tbsp of the oil used for frying the shallots and cook the minced dried shrimps till fragrant.
  • Add minced pork and cooked till almost done. Add five spice powder, pepper, light and dark soy and stir well. Add 2 small cup of water and cover to cook at low fire for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, set a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles till it just float up. Drain and dish into bowls. Place some sliced Japanese cucumber on the side.
  • Uncover, add salt, sugar and chicken powder seasoning. Stir well and add the fried shallots in, remove from fire. Spoon some meat sauce over the noodles and serve while hot.
The meat sauce turned out to be very good! I just wished I have done a better job with the noodles! :-P But it was still yummy overall, a satisfactory dinner for the family. :D But I am still thinking of restaurants serving up those delicious handmade good! I wonder where did I go wrong?! Will work on this recipe again and hopefully I can come up with spome new tricks to make the noodles more delicious. Perhaps the next time I should just stand at those glass window display @ the Chinese restaurants where the chefs make the noodles in front of everyone and watch the expert at work, hahaha! ;) Until next time my friend...have a good one!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Doing the Impossible : Snow White Cake

It's been a year. Yes, 365 days since I last started this food blog. Wow, time sure swoosh by amazingly fast. If you noticed, the counter on the left top corner, is the number of days I have been blogging. That comes to the same day which I celebrate the birth of my 2nd child. I still remember clearly that day I was toiling away making her an "A" shaped birthday cake last year. Almost feels like yesterday! After seeing her sister's birthday cake a few months back, my 2nd daughter has requested me for the "impossible". So I kind of promised my little girl without thinking deep into it. Yes, a princess cake...don't they all want that nowadays? My girl happens to fancy Princess Snow White more then the others. However, making this cake has really put me to the test! That kind of explained why I was missing in action lately. I used up all my energy and time to come up with the best Snow White Cake I can....Anyway, Happy Birthday Arissa!
Okay, I admit, there is definitely room for improvement. But I was kind of pressing for time towards the end, and I have over estimated the "stability" of my fondant mould. :-P So there was a lot of last minute patching when I started to assemble the cake. Good thing it was completed in time and everything stayed the way it suppose to be, hahaha!

But most importantly, my daughter was absolutely thrilled when she saw the completed cake. She was so happy that for a few moments I caught her mesmerizing looking at the cake, haha! Guess I did my job. ;) Not realizing what I have got myself elder daughter came to me after seeing the Snow White Cake and said "Ma, I want a Cinderella cake on my next birthday." !!! :-P Deeper and deeper I go... geranimo!!!
Just in case you are wondering, Snow White is leaning on a chopped tree trunk. Well, if you have played with fondant before, you should know that it has no "backbone"...literally, hahaha. So moulding a standing or siting figuring can be tricky. I figured Snow White is pretty close to Nature....a tree trunk would be prefect.I wished I had done a better job moulding the princess is so not Snow White looks, hahaha! But it is my 3rd attempt and it was the best I could come up with...*sigh* And that rabbit on the right...yeah, it's not a dog! It's a fluffy white bunny. :-P I guess I really need to practice more!
There will not be any recipe posted today as there is quite a bit to cover. (and it's almost 2am now!) But I did used similar chocolate cake recipe that I made for my husband's birthday cake. In that I replaced the sour cream with cream cheese a few adjustments here and there.
Almost forgotten to add a snap shot of a slice of this decadent dark chocolate cake in this post. Made it extra tall with 4 layers of chocolate cake and 3 layers of chocolate cream. ;) house is a house of chocoholics, haha! As for the taste wise was really great...everyone enjoyed it. :) I know I can eat it again and again and again ....:D

Final Thoughts: Being able to complete this challenging cake on my own at this point in time (1 year) is like reaching a milestone for me. As any food blogger out there; baking and blogging was one thing I truly enjoy tremendously. It's through these small achievements of cooking or baking something delicious, sharing it with my love ones and posting it for everyone to enjoy; that I find the joy in it all. I just wish this wonderful thing I found can still continue even as the coming challenge of life changing plans we have laid out in the coming months. Wish me luck dear friends...I need loads. ;) Cheers!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Indonesian Curry Prawns & Assorted Buns

I don't know about you, but I seldom cook shelled seafood at home, namely crabs, clams, but more oftenly prawns. Well, they do taste good, but personally I find them slightly less healthy verses the other seafood choices like fishes and having to pay at a higher price. But eating it as an occasional treat is always nice. So when I do find a good recipe for them, I will find a chance to cook for my family to enjoy. Just like tonight, I would like to introduce this really delicious Indonesian curry prawns to you all. I have already cooked it twice and both occasions have been well received. The ingredients are not hard to find, so it's easy to get it prepared any time of the night. ;) Imagine serving up a restaurant standard dish at your dinner table, ain't that good. ;)Ingredients:
400g large / tiger prawns
1.5 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Spice (grounded in spice blender):
3 shallots
1 pip garlic
2 red chilies
2 stalks lemongrass

5 tbsp thick coconut milk
200ml water

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp dried shrimps, chopped, deep fried until crispy
2 pieces kaffir lime leaf, shredded

  • Deep-fry the prawns in hot oil for 1/2 min. Dish and drain.
  • Leave 2 tbsp of oil in the wok, saute grounded spice until fragrant. Add coconut milk, water and continue to cook for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Add fried prawns, seasoning and stir well. Dish onto a serving platter.
  • Sprinkle deep fried dried shrimps and kaffir lime leaf on top and serve.
This is yet another wonderful dish to serve with steamed white or basmati rice. I can eat a big bowl of steamed rice with this yummy gravy and sweet prawns, so I always cook extra rice whenever I make curry dishes...mmmm!

Made some bread again today, specifically a varieties of buns. Have been planning to do this since last week, since my better half totally enjoyed the buns I made before. ;) Besides the usual ham and cheese, hotdog buns, I made a couple of new ones; (1)Fried Shallots and Scallions (green onion) Buns
, (2)Egg and Mayo buns.
Did not have time to come up with any new dough recipe, so I fall back to the same recipe I used earlier. Since this dough is so versatile, I can use it for any kind of filling or topping. :)
The fried shallots and scallions filling is pretty easy to prepare. Simply fry the sliced shallots till golden brown, drain off majority of the oil, then add the chopped scallions, a dash of pepper and salt to taste. Stir fry for another 15 seconds and dish up to cool before use.
This is a simple yet delicious bun, something light compared to all those ham and hotdogs. :) With the flavorful and aromatic filling, it's really yummy. ;)
This egg and mayo bun is totally inspired by my elder daughter. She loves everything egg, be it fried, scrambled, boiled, steamed, black egg, quail's egg and even food containing egg, hahaha! So I decided to make 2 of these buns, egg side up, squirted with mayo and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dried parsley over. The taste is very nice, creamy and flavorful...should have made more of these. ;-PThink after this round of buns, it will be awhile before I made them...kind of boring to keep making the same stuff! Think I should make some paos the next till next time, happy baking! ;)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Taiwan, "Deflated" Wheat Gem Loaf & Party Cupcakes

Hello again everyone! It's good to be back again! Have been away for a few days in case any of you out there is wondering what happened to HBS. Yeah, I just got back from a short vacation to Taiwan, Taipei to be specific. Want to share with you what I did in Taiwan in this post. Hope I don't get too long-winded though, so bare with me a little & hear me out. Have been wanting to visit Taiwan for quite some time, so this was truly a wish come true. ;) Overall, it was a great trip! Lot's of fun, food and also meeting up some good old friends there. To cut the story short, I shall only highlight some of the interesting things we did there. First, of all, we managed to visit some of the major places, and one of them is 台北101大樓 or famously known as Taipei 101 which is one of the tallest building in the world.
We went up to their visitors' observatory level to get a bird's eye view of Taipei. It was beautiful up there, but because we went at the time where Typhoon Parma was almost reaching Taiwan, so it was a bit foggy. That explains why the picture above looks "gloomy". :P

To experience their famous night markets (夜市), we went to both RaoHe (饒河街觀光夜市) & Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). Even though it was drizzling, the market was still going on and it was still packed full of people, eating and shopping...very "happening"!! There are 2 street foods that I particularly like is their 胡椒饼 (pepper buns) and their o-a-mi-sua, or Ah-Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線).
Flavorful and with a kick, 胡椒饼 (pepper buns)
Unlike the ones sold locally, they served it with basil & pork intestine, very good!

You know I had so much delicious food in Taipei that it's kind of hard to tell you all all about it at one go. So I decided to show just a few of the snap shots for your viewing pleasure, heehee. ;DZa-jiang Mian (炸酱面)...another simple yet mouth watering noodle dish.
Shao Rou Zhua Bing (烤肉抓饼)
Shao Bing You Tiao (烤饼油条). So good with warm Soy Milk (豆漿) inexpensive and delicious breakfast. ;)
口福堂麻糬, best Muchi I've tasted! My girls waiting for theirs. They had banana green bean and peanut flavor while I had chestnut (栗子) flavor, yummy!

We also went to the National Palace museum (國立故宮博物院). Since no photography was allowed there, so I did not take any nice pictures to show you all. Due to the poor weather, we did not manage to go Yang Ming Shan (陽明山 national park) & National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (国父纪念馆). But we did plenty of shopping in 太平洋SOGO and 新光三越百貨(SHINKONG MITSUKOSHI). My favorite besides food, haha!! Even managed to buy a couple of Taiwan cookbooks...hopefully I can put into good use soon. ;)

The day before we left Taipei, we traveled up to Xin Beitou hot springs (北投溫泉親水公園). Beitou is the most mountainous and highest of Taipei's districts, it is very easily accessible using the public train service (like Singapore MRT). I managed to get a shot of a river of sulfuric fumes from the hot springs while we were driving up the moutains to our hotel.
We booked a private suite in 春天酒店 for 2 hours to soak ourselves in the hot spring to wind down and relax....very "siok"! And after that we got to dine at this nice Japanese restaurant which left us totally satisfied.

Seriously...5 days 4 nights wasn't enough, wished that we could have stayed longer. But it was a wonbderful trip and I am already looking forward to experience more of Taiwan the next time we return. Come to think of it, we even get to experience earthquake and typhoon too, hahah! Thank god we were in Taipei, so we were safe. All we experience were a few seconds of jolting and drizzing.

Would like to talk more and show you more pictures about my trip..but I worry some of you guys might be bored and doze off, haha! So let's get back to my food post now. But I was really careless yesterday when I was baking this Wheat Gem Loaf. I was actually multi-tasking again, which is very normal for me. I was baking 60 cupcakes for my girls' school party today, cooking dinner and baking the bread. So while the loaf was baking, I wanted to place an aluminum foil to cover the top to prevent it from burning and at the same time rotating the tray.....I accidentally "dropped" the tin to the bottom of the oven door!! The next moment is like baker's nightmare....literally...I saw the loaf deflating right in front of my eyes! *sigh* There goes my 2hrs of proofing the dough. :-P Nevertheless I left it to finish baking and here is what I have:
It doesn't look that bad in the picture....but I swear it was at least 2 inches taller then this. :-P Good thing it was still soft but just slightly more dense at the bottom.The slight sweet taste from the wheat flour and wheat gem is really nice. This time round I used Billington's Natural Molasses Sugar, so the loaf yields a deep mellow scent but not overpowering at all. As I mentioned before, unrefined sugar contains more useful minerals then processed white sugar. So I always try to use unrefined cane sugar whenever possible. Besides that, the wheat gem I used was from Taiwan. Yeah, I know, you can get wheat gem here...but not my local bakery store for sure. :-PDue to the length of this post, I will not be posting the recipe this time. Will probably bake it again but with slight changes to it. Interested bakers please go ahead to try this recipe first.

Also like to show you guys the 60 cupcakes I "rushed" out yesterday for my girls' school party today. :P My elder daughter requested for butter cupcakes with butter cream while my younger one asked for chocolate cupcakes with M&Ms. Yeah, they do that to me a lot, asking for different things. ;-P Anyway, managed to did what they asked for in time. Although nothing fantastic, but enough to keep them happy. :)
Did a simple butter cake from this cookbook of mine and pipped grass and flowers over it. Had thought about putting fondant flowers but did not have time to let it dry had to abundant the idea. :-P BTW, the tiny brown dots are Valrhona chocolate balls. ;)As for these chocolate cupcakes are the Ultimate Chocolate cupcakes that I did before which never fail to please. ;)
Both was delicious and glad that my girls liked them. *Phew* I am so glad that I finally got through this post and I'm sure you do too, hahaha! Hope you had fun reading it as much as I had enjoyed writing it down for you all. Till next time, have a great one!